Italy Trains and Luggage

Apr 25th, 2008, 03:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 14
Italy Trains and Luggage


Well my husband and I are leaving for Italy in exactly one week! Now I'm just trying to figure out what to pack and exactly how we're getting from one city to another!

I originally thought that we would each have one checked bag and a carryon. Then I read on Rick Steve's web site about how he only packs ONE CARRY-ON and that's it - no checked bags or anything.

I'm wondering if this might be the best solution - packing light. Does anyone know the luggage size and wieght requirements for checked bags and carryons for Italy's train systems? I couldn't find it on the Trenitalia website. I'm a little worried about checking bags on the trains. I'm not sure how this works and I've heard stories about people stealing your luggage if it's out of site. Plus I don't want it to be a hassle - waiting around for our luggage forever at each stop.

Please help!

Also we are flying in to Venice. Traveling from there to Cinque Terre, then Florence, Assisi, Rome, and flying back from there.

We are traveling from place to place by train. Should I just buy tickets from Trenitalia when I get there? I didn't know if there are any high speed trains or anything that I should be looking into instead.

Thanks for all your help. I promise to write a detailed trip report when I return!!!
adesign is offline  
Apr 25th, 2008, 04:03 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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We have never checked bags on trains in Italy. I do not think that service is available. We just tuck our bags behind/under/above seats. On older, local, trains, there is sometimes room for several bags at the end of the car on shelves. Those trains make frequent stops, so lock up your bags or stand by them as people get on and off the train.
kbrennan is offline  
Apr 25th, 2008, 04:14 PM
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Trains do not check bags. The bags are yours to deal with - carry up onto the platform, up the few steep, narrow steps onto the train, down the aisle and lift into the overhead racks for storage. That's the reason he says to pack light, You need to be able to lift the luggage over your head easily.

Or - you can take first class, get more room - and stuff the bags under your seats - or on the empty ones - since first class is usually not full.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 25th, 2008, 04:46 PM
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Hi adesign,

The lighter you pack, the happier you will be!

As the others have said, you must wheel, lift, lug, heave your own luggage. One small roller and a small carry on. No more!

Don't accept help from anyone offering, they will expect a lot of $$$ for the service. They are not station employees

Most of the train stations have what seems like zillions of stairs just to get to your track (binario). Then, you have the steep ones into/out of the train. Anything larger than a 24" will not wheel down the asile. Then you must lift it to the racks above or somewhere else without killing your fellow passengers or yourself.

Pack light, you'll have a wonderful time.
Dayle is offline  
Apr 25th, 2008, 08:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Hello adesign, yes take as little as possible when travelling by the trains. It is funny as inspite of other Fodorite's comment I do not remember having a problem with stairs in the train station or getting on or off the train but..somehow getting the piece of luggage on the rack above my seat has always been a problem. I always have had a nice man help me. Well you will have your husband with you so that problem is taken care. Packing light is the best way to go. There is no luggage size or weight requirements because one does not check their luggage when travelling be train.
The only "requirement" is that you two can manage the luggage.

I have never purchased a train ticket from the US. Personally, unless you are travelling during a holiday when many Italians are using the trains, I would buy the tickets when in Venice.

Best wishes, and have a very lovely trip..and you will!
LoveItaly is offline  
Apr 26th, 2008, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi A,

One large suitcase and two carryons is more than sufficient for 2 people for 3 weeks.

You may schlep as much luggage as you wish onto trains, keeping in mind that you often have only about 1-2 min to get on/off.

Your train schedules and prices are at

You can buy all of your tickets at the Venice train station.

I suggest that you print out a list of trains that you want.

If you take AV, ES*, or IC+ trains, you get an automatic seat reservation. You must take that train or change the reservation to another train in advance.

Your tickets for all other trains are good for whichever ones are on that route.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Apr 26th, 2008, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Heavy bags and/or multiple pieces of luggage can make train travel hellish...after spending a week in Provence last spring my husband and I collected quite a few "treasures" and then when it came time for the train travel portion of our trip to Cinque Terre and from there on to Pisa to pick up our other rental car...negotiating all the stairs to get to platforms, hoisting these bags up the steep train steps, jockeying for places to stow away once we were on the train...and all of that having to happen very quickly - it made our train travel days very stressful. We will NOT repeat the same mistakes ever. Take Rick's advice!
caroltis is offline  
Apr 26th, 2008, 07:33 AM
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Pack lightly if possible. My mum and I did a 6 week trip around Europe/UK by train in 2006. We had the big 71cm suitcases. We filled them to the brim with all of our purchases and they were heavy to lug around.

I think only the trains in Switzerland had platform level floors, the rest had steep, narrow steps. I had to try and lift both suitcases separately onto the train while not blocking other passengers too much. We had to store our luggage in the end storage if free as there was no way we could lift our luggage one foot off the ground let alone above our heads to the overhead racks! We didn't worry so much about someone stealing it as they wouldn't have gotten very far!

You will need to check the luggage restrictions for your flights, especially if the Venice flight is a smaller aircraft and/or regional airline. The US baggage allowance tends to be more generous than in other countries.
speckles is offline  
Apr 26th, 2008, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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When you carry on your luggage on your flight, you will be in good shape for taking your luggage on trains as well.It will force you to pack lightly. We each take a 22" bag with wheels and a small additonal bag and usually stay a month in Europe. I unpack my purse, pack it my suitcase for the flight and use the small bag for my tickets, passport, etc. You will have to deal with your luggage by yourself on the trains; I have never seen anyone at the stations available to give any help.
SuQue is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Last year we did train travel only in Austria and Italy. It is a great way to travel, but I must say that at the end of 2 weeks and schlepping out luggage up and down stairs and on and off trains we were tired of it. We did pack fairly light too. We each had one 22 inch bag and a very small carry-on. My husband, who is in good shape, actually strained his shoulder hoisting the bags. So, the lighter, the better as everyone else says.
KatGio is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 08:37 AM
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I suggest 1 small rolling suitcase for each person (22-24", ~27 lbs. packed weight) plus 1 tote carry-on bag or small day-pack you keep with you.

While some people can manage with carry-on only, I prefer to check my luggage on the plane ride to Europe. Two reasons: for me too much hassle dragging your suitcase thru connecting airports, bathrooms, and on & off the planes, plus I prefer to be able to pack a tiny bit more stuff than size/weight limits for carry-on.

As noted... there is NO baggage check on trains in Italy. You need to be able to get your own luggage thru stations, and on and off the train car (usually involving steps).

suze is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,082
Just echoing what others have said here.

I'm in my mid-30s and in relatively good shape. I travel alone a lot and when I do, I keep it to a 21" carryon. When it's full, it adds up to about 20-22lbs which is as heavy as I can handle on my own. I don't like to rely on strangers to help me with my luggage. Anything bigger or heavier I would not be able to carry (ie carry up/down 2 flights of stairs, lift it overhead to storage bins etc).
yk is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 09:33 PM
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Trains are not the only places you have to deal with luggage yourself. Even using a car, you still have to schlep your luggage into your room. Oh sure, you can wait until someone can help you carry your luggage.

Some hotels in Cinque Terre, I don't know where you are staying, require you to schlep your luggage up and up stairs to your room.
greg is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 12:58 AM
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Just be prepared to do what NOBODY ever mentions: LAUNDRY

Now, if you happen to be one of those folks whose one pair of size 12 shoes takes up half of that carry-on, well....
Dukey is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 05:42 PM
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Dukey, you are absolutely right. My husband wears a size 13 and those suckers take up most of the suitcase.
KatGio is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 07:48 PM
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adesign hasn't checked back in.
Maybe she's just really busy packing all those suitcases!!!

JeanneB is offline  

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